Photo by Jose Villa

The Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for Two is perfect for couples just like Mark and Cristina who knew without a doubt they wanted to get married in Santa Barbara, but a) did not know where to start and b) were not sure they wanted to invest in a full-service wedding planner  and c) had a limited spending plan  (aka “budget”).

One of the biggest mistakes I see newly-engaged couples make is to spend weeks or months researching venues in an area on their own, and then when they find their dream venue, often fall so in love with it that they do whatever it takes to book it and sometimes a site fee alone can eat up almost half  (or a good portion) of their spending plan, if they aren’t careful.  They then find themselves over-committed financially and sacrificing on the other absolutely-crucial elements necessary for a lovely, memorable event for themselves and their guests.  All of this could be avoided with coming into the whole planning experience with an overall spending plan and a professional to guide them up front.

Some think that if they have a limited spending plan, Santa Barbara may not be an option.  Further, they think they cannot afford a luxury resort wedding experience.  If they had invested in a professional consultant to start them off on the right foot, they would know that with a little planning and some tips and tricks, there are many options for wedding in Santa Barbara.  As a third-generation Santa Barbaran who has produced weddings and events here for nearly 20 years, I love sharing the knowledge of my hometown with visitors.

Mark and Cristina said their number one love was the historic feel of Santa Barbara and its Spanish roots and influence.  They also wanted a no-fuss type of reception – basically, just a meal with friends and family  for their 40 person estimated guest count.  Their spending plan was not unlimited.  They invested in my expertise to jump start their wedding planning.

More than just a tour, I went to work with my knowledge of the area in advance of our tour day and sought out 8 possible venues for them that matched their budget, their event vision and guest capacity.  I also solicited some customized proposals for them, which I included in  a personalized packet for them to take home that was a summary of our tour day and everything that they would see and experience.  This packet included all the venues’ pricing, policies and special items of note.  At the top of the packet, I put my summary professional recommendation for the ideal wedding and dinner location for them as well as some recommended special touches.

The day of the tour, we visited 4 of those venues, enjoyed a lovely lunch together and only 3 hours into our tour/consultation, Mark and Cristina had firmly decided on their location choice. And guess what? It was my number one recommendation for them in their packet I’d prepared!   They were thrilled.  To see the look of delight and glimmer in their eye was invaluable to me as a planner (and as a romantic).  They chose a wedding ceremony at the legendary  Santa Barbara Courthouse with mariachis piping them and their guests down to dinner at the Federal Historic landmark El Paseo Restaurant a block away.   Other options included a fun  photo safari tour for them and their guests following the ceremony, designed to showcase some major Santa Barbara landmarks where they could have wedding photos taken at each landmark.  They are still considering all their add-on “fun” options and looking at costs. Because they started off wisely managing their spending plan and location choice in advance, they now have funds for some special touches for their special day.

For a nominal flat rate fee (starting at $350), couples have the expertise of a Certified Wedding Professional at their exclusive use all day as they are chauffeured around with special swag bag of goodies, a lunch for two and a customized event planning packet that they can take home to review all their choices, pricing and more with our Jump Start Your Wedding Planning Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for Two.  It’s a solid investment that gets them off on a solid foot and also introduces my planning style to them, should they choose to hire me for further planning after our tour day (which, by the way, they are … I just received word that Cristina and Mark will be continuing my professional planning for their big day).

My choices for their unique needs ranged from The Four Seasons Biltmore to some of our local parks and wonderful restaurants to historic landmarks and some locations in Santa Barbara’s own  Funk Zone. I also always throw a “wild card” in as a choice for my clients.  This is a venue or service that is a bit different from their original vision description to me, but is exceptionally unique and special and I think they should have it on their list of considerations.  Below is a summary of highlights of some of what we saw on our tour.


Above: Santa Barbara Courthouse (Mural Room upper left photo courtesy SB Courthouse Website) ; Fiesta Stage in Sunken Gardens in bottom left photo & Main Courthouse Clock Tower in right photo (latter two photos courtesy Mary Jane Weddings)

Above Photos : Alice Keck Memorial Gardens | Photos Courtesy City of Santa Barbara

Above Photos: The Lark Restaurant in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone | Above Photo from The Lark Website; bottom two photos by SBWCWE

El Presidio Chapel | Above Photo by SBWCWE; Bottom photo of interior of chapel by Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

Above Photos of Wine Cask: Terrace, The Wine Library Tasting Room and Mediterranean Courtyard | Photos from Wine Cask Website

Above photos: Our “Wild Card” venue suggestion for our client: El Zapato for private events (and accommodations)! Photo Credit: Santa Barbara Venues


“We would like to thank you again for meeting with us yesterday and showing us the different venues. Cristina and I were very impressed with your professionalism and wealth of knowledge.  We are really happy with your work and would highly recommend your services.” ~Mark and Cristina